Ashley Elaine York is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts, department of Sociology.

"Designing Popularity, Containing Feminism: A (Re)Branding Strategy Case Study of the Industry, Text, and Audience of TNT's The Closer"/Television and Media Studies

The terrain of my dissertation falls within the KIAS research theme of Culture, Media, Technology, and, specifically, explores the sub-question: "How have evolving social patterns and economic models affected artistic creations?" The Closer, a female-led police procedural dramedy that ended its television run in August 2012 as ad-supported cable's most watched original series of all time, poses an important question for interdisciplinary Humanities, Social Science, and Media Arts scholars: How do cultural producers design shows that both raise and contain feminism in an effort to attract a large, diverse global viewership, while coterminously meeting the economic demands of an overdetermining and neoliberal television industry? I take a three-pronged methodological approach to answering this question: a textual analysis of all 109 episodes; an industrial analysis of the gendered messages of its distributing network, TNT, stars, and advertisers; and a three months, in-depth focus group study of a sampling of its viewers.

keywords: Culture, Media, Social Patterns, Viewership, Feminist Representations, Television, Economic Models